Ten Most Harmful Government Programs

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Adam's Apple, May 6, 2006.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    The 10 Most Harmful Government Programs
    Compiled by Human Events Editorial Board
    April 10, 2006

    Each judge was asked to nominate a few programs for the 2006 list of the "10 Most Harmful Government Programs". We then sent them ballots listing the nominated programs. They ranked their choices 1 through 10, with No. 1 being the program they believed to be "most harmful." A program earned 10 points for each No. 1 vote it received, 9 points for each No. 2 vote, and so on.

    The program with the highest aggregate score -- Social Security -- was given the No. 1 position on this year's list, and next year will be retired into the Government Program Hall of Shame. When the ballots were tallied, we phoned spokesmen for the federal agencies responsible for each program that made the list to see if they could point to the constitutional language, if any, that authorized the program.

    1. Social Security

    Score:155
    Started when:1935
    By whom: President Franklin Roosevelt and a Democratic Congress.

    Why: To replace the family with the federal government as the principal means of providing financially for seniors who lack the savings to sustain themselves.

    What it does: The government imposes a 12.4% tax on the first $94,200 in income earned by every worker. Half of this tax, 6.2%, is paid by the employee and is shown on his paycheck as a deduction. The other 6.2% is paid by the employer and is not shown on a worker’s paycheck. However, as conservative economists point out, it also effectively comes from the worker as it is part of the cost the employer incurs on his behalf. The program has socialized the retirement of Americans, making most seniors financially dependent on payments that the federal government may alter, decrease or even cancel. Democrats routinely and demagogically use this fact to their political advantage. Benefits for current retirees are paid by those still working. When the system was founded, there were 42 working taxpayers per beneficiary. Today, there are about three. In 25 years, there will be about two. President Bush made a valiant effort last year to begin reforming the system with a proposal that included allowing workers to create small personal retirement accounts with a minimal segment of their Social Security tax. Democrats uniformly opposed the idea.

    Cost: Social Security collected $657.7 billion in taxes in 2004 and paid out $501.6 billion in benefits. Congress spent every penny of the $156.1-billion Social Security surplus on non-Social Security items. The Social Security Administration says the program faces $4 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years.

    2. Medicare

    Score: 103 points
    Started when: 1965
    By whom: President Lyndon B. Johnson and a Democratic Congress

    Why: To provide federally funded health insurance to seniors.

    What it does: The government imposes a 2.9% Medicare tax on all income earned by workers. Half is paid directly by the worker, the other half is paid by employers. In return, the government provides seniors with hospital insurance, or Medicare Part A, which pays for hospital and hospice care. Also, for a modest premium, seniors receive supplementary medical insurance, or Medicare Part B, which pays physicians' fees and outpatient care. Part D, President Bush’s Medicare prescription drug plan, became effective this year (and last year was enrolled in the HUMAN EVENTS Government Program Hall of Shame). It covers much of the cost of drugs for seniors on Medicare. These programs have socialized health care for seniors, making them dependent on the government not only for their income, but also for their medical coverage. Medicare covered 41.7 million people in 2004.

    Cost: In 1966, according to the Office of Management and Budget, Medicare cost $64 million.

    Republicans predicted its costs would increase enormously. In 2007, it is estimated it will to cost $392 billion. By 2011, its projected cost is $494 billion. The Government Accountability Office estimates Medicare faces $28 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years.

    3. Income Tax Withholding

    Score: 102 points
    Started when: 1935 and 1943
    By whom: President Franklin Roosevelt and a Democratic Congress.

    Why: Roosevelt and his Democrat Congress vastly expanded the number of Americans who owed income taxes when they imposed a "Victory Tax" of 5% on all incomes over $624 in 1942. Because they feared that low- and middle-income workers might not pay the new tax unless it was withheld from their wages, Congress enacted the Current Tax Payment Act in 1943. This program is linked to this year's No. 1 Most Harmful Program, Social Security, because the Social Security Act of 1935 paved the way for the withholding of income taxes by mandating the withholding of Social Security taxes.

    What it does: Compels employers to withhold income and payroll taxes from workers' paychecks and pay the money directly to the federal government each quarter before tax returns are actually filed. It allows the government to extract far more revenue from workers than would be politically feasible if workers paid the tax directly. In a study for the Cato Institute, Charlotte Twight noted: "[W]ithholding is the paramount administrative mechanism enabling the federal government to collect, without significant protest, sufficient private resources to fund a vastly expanded welfare state."

    Cost: According to the OMB, Americans will pay $1.76 trillion in individual income and payroll taxes in 2006.

    4. McCain-Feingold

    Score: 101
    Started when: 2002
    By whom: President George W. Bush, even while doubting its constitutionality, signed a law sponsored by Senators John McCain (R.-Ariz.) and Russ Feingold (D.-Wis.) and Representatives Chris Shays (R.-Conn.) and Marty Meehan (D.-Mass.).

    Why: Purportedly to "clean up" financing of federal election campaigns, following various investigations of the financing of the 1996 Clinton-Gore reelection campaign.

    What it does: It prevents political parties from raising funds that are not allocated to specific candidates -- so-called "soft" money -- and bars citizens groups from using candidates' names or photographs in broadcast advertising for 30 days before a primary and 60 days before a general election. It violates the 1st Amendment by restricting political speech. It also protects incumbents from challengers and from issue-oriented groups that oppose the way they vote in Congress. Only candidates and news organizations, as opposed to regular citizens, are permitted to publicize a politician's voting record at election time.

    Cost: Lost freedom.

    Constitutional provision: The Supreme Court, although unable to explain convincingly why the law didn't violate the 1st Amendment, upheld the constitutionality of McCain-Feingold in the 2003 case of McConnell v. Federal Election Commission. When asked where the Constitution authorized the federal government to assume powers granted by McCain-Feingold, a spokesman for the FEC told HUMAN EVENTS: "Well Congress passed this in 2002 … You would have to speak to a congressional lawyer for this, which I am not."

    for entire list: http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=13885
     
  2. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    http://www.humaneventsonline.com/about-editors.php
     
  3. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    What the hell, Jillian? Tell us something else that we don't already know. There is no unbiased opinion regarding government programs. The source - Human Events Online - should have told you this was a conservative piece. And, yes, it's no great surprise that their editorial board is made up of conservatives. As far as I know, USMB is a conservative chat board, so what do you expect? You chose to participate, so don't start the liberal chant --biased, unfair, unfounded, and whatever else happens to come to mind-- P L E A S E!!!!
     
  4. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    There's certainly bias on both sides. So I'm not supposed to point out that a source is distorted and isn't an accurate reflection of anything except a particular viewpoint?

    Okie dokie.... :scratch:
     
  5. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    Too lazy to read the link, but I think property tax sucks big time. My FIL said this at his retirement. "I worked my whole adult life, paid off my mortgage, but we're still not secure. If I can't pay taxes, I can still lose my home."

    I'd rather see income taxed than property. If you make no income, you owe nothing. But, with property taxes, you make nothing, and you still owe. How you gonna pay?
     
  6. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    At least we agree that there are no unbiased sources or opinions when it comes to government programs.

    How do you know the source is distorted and inaccurate? Isn’t that, in fact, just your own liberal “particular viewpoint”?
     
  7. MissileMan
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    MissileMan Senior Member

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    It ought to be illegal for the government to burden seniors like this. There needs to be a waiver of property tax for folks on Social Security. The real kicker is that the town appraises the value of the house and then taxes based on that value. If the town needs more money, just appraise everyone's house at a higher value.
     
  8. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    I hear ya! :beer:
     
  9. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    Everyone has a "point of view", hence a leaning. Doesn't mean the facts aren't reported accurately, necessarily, but it does mean it's being written from a particular perspective.

    See...when I saw your thread title, I assumed there was going to be some assessment made by a poll done by random sampling or the like, which really set forth how people think their government is operating. I thought i'd learn from something like that and it would be interesting. Instead, I got the entire extreme right agenda that's probably gone back as far as Roosevelt.

    Thus my comments. ;)
     
  10. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    Income tax is socialism's red-headed stepchild. Tax consumption. You pay no tax until you SPEND the money.

    As for the government programs, they left out a big one, government schools. They don't have to compete with anyone and so they suck.
     

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